(F)ree Strea(M): My Internship in Radio

By Emily Neelon

This semester I’m interning at Portland Radio Project, a non-profit radio startup in downtown Portland. Even though it’s unpaid and I am only receiving academic for my work, I love my internship. It combines all three of the career areas I am interested in pursuing after graduation: radio, online journalism, and non-profit communications.

PRP is a very collaborative and supportive environment with an innovative business model. Striving to stay local, it promotes local music artists, businesses, and non-profits through an online stream and website.

Over the past five weeks, I’ve been able to apply my previous reporting and writing experiences as well as my classroom knowledge to my projects at PRP. I’ve become proficient in using various audio-editing programs to create podcasts out of live interviews.

I’ve written articles for PRP’s Community Voices Series, a series that supports and brings exposure to non-profit organizations around the Portland metro area that are affecting the community in positive ways. I’ve observed radio shows and have even been on-air a few times.


I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many successful people from entrepreneurs and non-profit founders to journalists and radio personalities.

Looking towards the remainder of my internship, I’m hoping to become more involved in social media and marketing, interviewing and reporting, and speaking on-air. I’d love to learn more about the musical aspect of the station (as the avid music fan I am) and am planning to assist in planning the station’s launch party for its FM dial 99.1.

With a solid foundation laid, I’m looking forward to becoming more involved with PRP’s inner workings. I’ve shared these aspirations with my supervisor (the founder of PRP) and she was very supportive.

I couldn’t ask for a better experience.

Through working for PRP, I found a new passion for radio and non-profit work. I’d love to work for a local radio station or non-profit organization after graduation and my internship helped me realize this. The practical skills and valuable connections I’ve made so far are irreplaceable.

I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity and it’s all because of collegecentral.com. I found PRP’s internship listing on College Central, a website that posts loads of internship and job opportunities in any and every field and location. The website gave me all of the information I needed to apply and helped streamline my research process.

After following the application instructions and reaching out to PRP’s founder Rebecca on the PRP website’s volunteer page, I came into the studio for an interview and was offered the job. Rebecca and I discussed what I was interested in learning more about and formulated a plan to accomplish these learning goals.

Because I wanted to receive academic credit for my unpaid internship, I met with my adviser and Elizabeth Ostapeck, the internship coordinator of the College of Arts and Sciences, to fill out necessary forms. I also enrolled in an upper division Communication internship course which adds an academic component to my work in the studio. Although securing my internship and credit took time, it was well worth it.

Looking for an internship for this summer? I’d definitely recommend looking into http://www.collegecentral.com/up/. As an added incentive, it’s free! You have no excuses not to.

Check out Portland Radio Project at http://prp.fm.

Informational Interviews: Part 1

By Cristina Scalzo

Once you have made connections with professionals, one way to make the most of those connections is through informational interviews. My freshman year, I was required for my Nursing 101 class to conduct an informational interview with two different nurses. The nurses I connected with did not live in the Portland area and so we did our interview sessions over Skype. By the time the interviews rolled around I had rehearsed the questions a million times, but I ended up sleeping in past my alarm! As I sprinted to the study room I had reserved, I was worried that I would seem flustered, unprepared and nervous. And honestly, I was all of those things. So here is why I am sharing these basic tips with you: so you do not feel anxious and unprepared like I did.

informational interview
Informational interviews can be done in person, over the phone, on Skype, or even by email. Be sure to ask your interviewee for his or her preference!
  1. Informational interviews can be formal or they can be casual. They can be in person or over Skype. You can have dinner, coffee or neither. The point is: there is no one way to conduct an informational interview. The important thing is to ask the right questions to get the information and wisdom you need to gain new insights into the field.

  2. Like I said above, informational interviewing is about gathering as much information as you can. Before you meet, brainstorm questions that will get you the information you are seeking. Some good questions to ask may be:

    • How did you get into this field?
    • Can you describe a typical day? Week? Project? Business trip?
    • What kinds of people thrive in this industry? What character or personality traits would you say they have in common?
    • What was different about this job than you expected?
    • What advice do you have for a college student like me?

  3. Lastly, do not go into the interview without thinking about yourself first. Know your interests, strengths, and skills so that you are prepared to have a conversation rather than going in without direction.

Conducting informational interviews now, even when you may not be looking for a job, can help you to better understand what your future might look like and help you develop a sense of what your aspirations are for college. They might also reveal pieces of your potential future you do not like. Talking to people who are in specific industries makes what you are studying a reality.

So take a shot and schedule an informational interview with someone you know. It could even be a relative or friend’s parent. Whoever it is, I guarantee they have useful information for you right now.

And whatever you do, make sure you set a backup alarm so you don’t sleep through your interview.

How To Get Any Job: Life Launch And Re-Launch for Everyone Under 30, by Donald Asher. Ten Speed Press: 2004.

There are informational interview resources available on the Career Services website and in the office. Stop by Orrico Hall (lower level) to find out more!

Why I Love My Major: English

By Emily Neelon

I’ve always loved to read and write. I used to devour book after book, my well-worn library card burning a hole in my pocket, begging to be used. The characters in my favorite books were my best friends and the lines on the pages of a notebook were my closest confidants.

When I started college, I didn’t have time to read books anymore. I read journal study after journal study about communication theories in cross-cultural contexts. I read pages and pages on the effects of global warming on the environment. I read posts on my Facebook wall and tweets on my Twitter feed and articles in the newspaper. But I neither made the time nor had the time to read and write about literature anymore.

At the beginning of the spring semester, I decided to change this. I declared a secondary major in English.

Many people become English majors out of a love for the written word.
Many people become English majors out of a love for the written word.

Attending my first upper-division English class at UP was (and still is) a nerve-wracking experience and I definitely don’t fit the “English major” mold of students well-read in eighteenth century British literature with their mason jars of home-brewed kombucha and hand-knit beanies.

I’m still afraid to raise my hand in class for fear of sounding unintelligent and struggle with gaining confidence in sharing my personal interpretations of the texts I read. But adding English to my course load has proven very valuable.

My English classes have taught me critical reading skills and shown me the intersections between history and the human experience. I have learned about feminism and the battle between masculinity and femininity. I have analyzed the relationship between people and nature through the lens of Ecocriticism. I have psychoanalyzed poetry, plays, and non-fiction pieces. I have learned so much already in these first four weeks and found everything I’ve discussed in these courses to coincide and supplement the work I’m doing in my other classes in addition to giving me a better background on various societal issues.

Declaring English as a second major has allowed me to fully embrace my liberal arts education, but has also added to my anxiety about finding a job after graduation. No English major majors in the subject area because they want to make money, but we all still want to work somewhere after graduation. How can I make my knowledge of post-modern masculinity seem marketable and desirable to an employer? What kinds of jobs can I apply my reading and writing skills to?

Reading complex texts forces me to critically examine and interpret literature from various points of view, giving me a broader insight into various multifaceted and highly relevant issues. With reading comes better writing as I learn to streamline my thoughts into concise essays. The way I see it, what employer doesn’t want someone who can think analytically and write insightfully?

After graduation I can apply my skills to everything from editing, publishing, or reporting to fundraising, teaching, and managing. I can work in the realms of public service, education, media, and everything in between. There is a breadth of opportunities available to me if I allow myself to become open to them. But for now, I going to keep on reading and writing with the hopes of sitting taller and raising my hand higher in class.

Interested in finding out more about post-graduation options for English majors? Here are some links to check out: 

What to do about Grad School

By Briana Rossi

Coming into college I was under the assumption that you go for four years and then you’re done, fully equipped to go right into your field of interest. For some fields this is true, but in others there is more to learn after undergrad and specialization may be required.

Whether to attend graduate school is a big decision: it is a mental, financial, and probably physical challenge (I know a full night of sleep will probably be a luxury). Here are a few questions I have been considering before I make my decision.

Why do you want to go?

I have been told many times that you should not go to grad school just to avoid getting a job right out of college, and I agree. You should continue your education to help you reach a specific career goal or to gain greater knowledge in a field that you are passionate about. In many cases a Master’s or PhD may be required to be considered for certain “higher-level” employment opportunities. Do your research and find out the requirements for the jobs that interest you most.

What is the best program for me?

Many research positions require advanced degrees.
Many research positions require advanced degrees in their fields.

After attaining your bachelor’s degree, you can choose to apply either to Master’s level or PhD level programs. It is important to figure out what program works best for you. Master’s degrees are often seen as professional degrees while PhD’s are more academic and research-oriented. There are also a variety of options even within single fields, and programs such as Master’s in Business, Master’s in Public Health, or Master’s of Fine Arts that can complement a different undergraduate specialty. Even if you don’t have an undergraduate degree in that field, many master’s programs allow you to apply directly as long as you have a bachelor’s degree and completed prerequisite courses.

It is also important to look at the faculty and make sure there are staff in the program with interests that align with your own. This is especially important for programs centered on research.

When is the best time to go?

I know that I am not ready for grad school just yet. I have talked to people who have gone right after graduation and others who waited a few years. Both had good reasons for when they went. I am making my decision based on when I have established a goal and have gathered enough experience to know how to use a Master’s degree to its full potential. You cannot be an undeclared graduate student “exploring your options.” But if you know what you want to do then go ahead and apply!

How can you afford to go?

Grad school is a financial investment and the time in class will take away the ability to work full time. From what I have learned there are many jobs that will pay to further your education especially for government positions. Student teaching positions are also usually available. Other ways to afford school would be through scholarships and loans. It’s important to take into consideration the cost of your program relative to your future expected salary to make sure that you will be able to pay off any loans in a reasonable time frame.

Deciding to go to graduate school is definitely another big decision. Figure out what works best for you and go for it!

Sources and Further Reading:
“A Guide for Potential Grad Students: Should You Go To Graduate School” Peterson’s. 17 Jan 2014.
“Choosing the Right Graduate Degree” Peterson’s. 22 Nov 2013.
“Graduate Scholarships & Financial Aid” Peterson’s. 2015.

Wally Goes to Work!


We recently announced a new social media campaign and we need your help.

Wally Pilot would love to tag along with his fellow Pilots to internships, classes, club meetings, jobs, research projects, labs, panels, discussions, group projects, library study sessions, etc. Take a picture of him at work and email it to Career Services with a brief description of what Wally (and you) did that day, to be promoted on Twitter and Facebook.

Wally has been helping out around Career Services, too. While he enjoys writing blogs and answering the phone, he would love to go on some new adventures on and off campus!

Interested? Sign up in Career Services or email career@up.edu for more information! And follow #wallygoestowork on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

Wally hard at work in Career Services!
Wally hard at work in Career Services!

The Coldness of It

By Emily Neelon

I remember the coldness of it,

the wind whipping against my cheeks as I stood in the middle of a field picking lettuce that October morning. I struggled to keep up with the other workers whose assured hands were bundling lettuce two, three, four times as fast as my fumbling, frozen fingers could. I still remember the coldness of it, the sun straining to shine through the expanse of clouds stretched across the sky.

I only picked lettuce that one October morning, but the workers I was among completed this task every single day. It seemed inconceivable to me that people endured this bone-chilling, mind-numbing coldness every single day.

I still remember the coldness of it. The time I spent in Salinas, California during an immersion trip through my high school that October still slips its way into my consciousness every day. The moments I spent in those fields have affected me more deeply than any other experience I have had in my nineteen years.

I still remember the coldness of it, the overwhelming sense that something bigger was going on in these fields than the menial task of picking lettuce. For these workers, picking lettuce wasn’t a job. It was a means of survival.

The volunteer work I completed in Salinas revealed lessons and awoke passions within me that I have been unable to shake over two years later. Laboring in those fields taught me the importance of working hard and resiliently. It taught me that failure is unavoidable and when faced with it, one must keep moving forward, forward, forward, until failures are a distant memory of the past.

volunteer experience
Courtesy of Emily Neelon

The moments I spent in those
fields have affected me more
deeply than 
any other experience
I have had in my nineteen years.

But most importantly, volunteering led me to discover that I want to pursue a career that makes an impact on my community. I want to immerse myself in work that can create positive change for the marginalized. I want what I devote my life to to matter, whether it fosters happiness in one person or many.

Volunteering, both on that cold, October morning and in other instances, helped me uncover my craving for telling the stories that would otherwise go untold, of working with populations that need more exposure and assistance. Volunteering has shown me that I want to pursue advocacy journalism or communications more than any classroom lecture or work experience I have had. Volunteering is underrated in my opinion, but has proven to be a valuable tool in helping me determine my purpose in the workforce.

Those fields showed me the injustices migrant workers faced. The way they labored for hours and hours picking bundle after bundle of lettuce for low pay. The lack of resources and support they had available to them as undocumented immigrants. I could only imagine what kinds of conditions caused them to leave their home countries and wander up the Pacific Coast in search of the work they found in those fields.

I still remember the coldness of it.

Extracurricular Activities

By Shannon Graham

The term “extracurricular activities” takes me back to days in middle school and high school, but it is still an important concept for college students. Involvement in relevant activities outside of classes can help boost your resume when applying to your first job and it can make your grad school application more competitive.  When I toured Pacific University’s physical therapy school, the admissions director said she specifically looks for involvement in activities outside of classes and outside of physical therapy on applications.

The University of Portland has an amazing amount of extracurricular activities for students. Consider joining an intramural team, or look into outdoor pursuits. Clubs on campus are a great way to meet people with similar interests. If you are interested in journalism, consider applying for a position with The Beacon (applications due 2/13). The debate team offers a chance to hone public speaking skills. These are just a few examples of ways to pursue your interests on campus. Additionally, the Moreau Center on campus provides students with a variety of volunteer opportunities that range from one-time commitments to semester-long opportunities to week or month-long service-learning immersions.

 Volunteering is a great way to connect with your community.

  • If you live in a dorm, talk to your Service and Justice Coordinator (SJC) about what events are coming up with your dorm or quad.  The SJCs work through the Moreau Center and spend time organizing fun volunteering experiences for the residents of their dorms.
  • Campus Volunteer Coordinators (CVCs) are each connected with a different organization and can help you find ways to get involved with that organization.  The Moreau Center has CVCs for Roosevelt High School, Friends of Trees, Hacienda CDC, and St. Andre Church.
  • Service-learning immersions can take you many places in the Northwest and even around the globe.  As one of the coordinators for the Collegiate Challenge immersion this year, I highly encourage you to check out the different immersions and find one you’d be interested in.  They are great opportunities to get to know other students, learn about different social issues, and spend one of your breaks volunteering and helping those around you.

The important thing is to find an experience that is interesting and rewarding to you. And while there’s no harm in trying out new opportunities, the greatest rewards of an extracurricular activity often come with time.